Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Novel Interiors: A Book Review

If you love beautiful rooms and great books, you are in for a treat! 

from A Bloomsbury Life
Lisa Borgnes Giramonti, the author of the blog A Bloomsbury Life, has published a beautiful new book. Called Novel Interiors: Living in Enchanted Rooms Inspired by Literature the book features tons of gorgeous, glossy photos by Ivan Terestchenko. I wasn't familiar with either of them before I got the book, and let me tell you, I was missing out.


The photos of the rooms featured in Novel Interiors are all new to me. This is not unremarkable considering I have pinned over 13,000 images here. What can I say? I like a beautiful room. I am 99% sure the above image from the book shows Mark D. Sikes' entryway. Doesn't he have the best front door?! I love the paneling and the contrast of the dark paint against the blonde wood flooring.


There are quotes about living interspersed throughout the book, and it's these quotes that link the featured rooms to the great novels in literature. I have never read Brideshead Revisited, but it's going on my list after seeing this chinoiserie-stocked vignette!

Novel Interiors is wonderful in that way. You can either approach the book as a guidepost to décor you like based on your favorite novels--or, you can find a new book to cuddle up with based on which style of room you are drawn to.

There are six chapters, each of which represents a different interior design style and its corresponding literature: Shall I Put the Kettle On?; Remembrance of Things Past; Living au Naturel; Oh, the Glamour of It All; Anything Goes; and Sometimes a Fantasy. There were rooms in each genre that I liked, but one chapter in particular that had me oohing and ahhing at each turn of the page. (It was Oh, the Glamour of It All, if you were curious, and the featured authors are F. Scott Fitzgerald, Hemingway, and Graham Greene).


At the end of each chapter is a nifty checklist of what items you need to buy in order to achieve this "look" in your own home. Abstract art, lacquered furniture, and white leather are some of the items on my list for Oh, the Glamour of It All.


The book also has some charming insets with information on how to collect dining chairs, set up a cordial bar, or add drama with portieres (drapes in a doorway--which I did in my own house here), to name just a few. The appendix contains a brief summary of the authors and books featured in each chapter. There is also a source guide (handy for those who want to re-create a look) and location credits so you can figure out which famous people's homes were featured.


The index is also quite handy for figuring out whether your favorite author made it into the book. After reading the story "Edith Wharton's House of Mirth" in the winter issue of Domino, I was excited to see where she fit in (it was my second favorite category: Remembrance of Things Past). Wharton's Berkshire escape, The Mount, illustrated the design principles she wrote about in her book The Decoration of Houses, another on my must-read list.

Overall, this is a lovely book, perfect for using on its own as part of the styling in a little vignette, to page through and get inspiration for decorating, or to enjoy as a fan of great literature. I think there may truly be something for everyone!

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. The images in this post are photos I took of the book with my iPhone. I highly recommend buying the book to see these images in their true format (and without my thumbs protruding into the image). You can buy it online here.

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Thanks so much for commenting! I love to read what you have to say. ~Carrie

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